“So, how did we compare with HUSK Charleston”, asked Bryson, our waiter on our recent visit to HUSK Nashville.
Bryson is from South Carolina and has long hair with curls that I’ve never been able to make work with my mane. When he’s not being awesome at HUSK, he’s a singer-songwriter and a student at Belmont. Though we were the last seating for Saturday brunch, Bryson never rushed us and our water glasses were never empty.
Two of the more prominent families in Charleston are the Rutledges and the Middletons. Story is that a leaf on a branch of the Middleton family tree contains Kate Middleton, so there’s that. It’s kind of funny – because Kate may one day be queen – that HUSK Charleston is located on Queen Street. More interesting still is that HUSK Nashville harkens back to HUSK Charleston as it sits near the corner of Rutledge Street and Middleton Street. I love stuff like that.
Like HUSK Charleston, HUSK Nashville is located in an old house. The Nashville house was built in the late 1800s. It was actually the home of Nashville’s mayor in 1897. You would never go there and not eat, but it’s fun to go through the old house and feel the history in the building. The chandeliers in the lower dining room are a little “southern Liberace”, or maybe a little “Gracelandish”, but it’s a great setting.
Now to the answer to Bryson’s question. We only had the brunch menu to choose from during our Saturday visit. Missing from the brunch menu are the fried pig ear wraps, the cornbread, and the chicken skins. We were not disappointed, though, by the sweet potato doughnuts. Served warm, drizzled with bourbon caramel sauce and dusted with powdered sugar, I could have eaten all six of them by myself. The pimento cheese was also very good, but I would have preferred it to be served with bread instead of the wafers. I just ate it with my spoon because, well, I’m kind of fancy like that.
On the brunch menu, because it’s probably the most requested item at both HUSK locations, was the cheeseburger. Depending on who you ask, only 90% to 95% of the patty is actually beef. The other 5% to 10% of the patty is bacon, because why not, right? Instead of adding a couple of slices of bacon to the burger, HUSK actually adds the bacon in with the beef while running it through the grinder. It’s beyond tasty, which makes me wonder why I didn’t order it. Three of the six people at our table didn’t overthink it, though, and went with the burger. Smart decision.
I over thought my order and went with the shrimp & grits. I didn’t get the shrimp & grits at the Charleston location. Let me remind you that Charleston has claimed for itself the title of Shrimp & Grits Capitol of the World. If I wouldn’t order shrimp & grits at HUSK Charleston, why did I order it at HUSK Nashville? Because I think too much, and because Leah ordered the cheeseburger and I knew that she wouldn’t eat the whole burger and I would get a bite or two of her burger. The shrimps & grits were good, very good actually, but on a menu for full of creation, I’m just disappointed in myself for not trying something different.
Kip went more traditional brunch and ordered the country fried steak over potato hash with sausage and topped with a fried egg. A perfectly fried egg I should add. When pierced, the yolk of a perfectly fried egg oozes – rather than runs – over the egg white and becomes like a gravy. That’s how HUSK fries an egg, but the real unheralded star of Kip’s dish was the sausage. I don’t know what was in it, but it was outstanding!
Rounding out our table was the plate of southern vegetables. This is not your mom’s shoepeg corn, fried okra, and turnip greens. I really don’t recall what all was on the lazy Susan style platter, there was cabbage – maybe, but in the center was a concoction of grits served with an egg. The egg was served at 62 degrees which, unless we were eating at one of the south’s best restaurants, may have been cause for concern. It’s amazing what you’ll try, though, when the food is created by a culinary genius.
As I’m writing this, I wonder why I didn’t take photos of the food. What a rookie.
What stood out to me most about HUSK Nashville was not the awesomeness of the building and its furnishings. It was not the incredibleness of every bite that we took. It was not even Todd’s hat – which was the star of every other stop we made in Nashville. What stood out to me was, though HUSK closes at 2:00 before reopening for dinner service, and we were the 1:30 reservation, the hostess still smiled and greeted us warmly, Bryson was friendly and treated us like we were friends in for the day, and the kitchen turned out works of art for both sight and taste. Everything was still spot on. That says something about the pride HUSK Nashville takes not just in their creations, but in their guests also.
So, Bryson, HUSK Nashville is step-for-step with its sister location in Charleston. You guys are doing a phenomenal job in one of the hottest cities in the country. If you can’t tell by now, I am a huge fan and I’ll definitely be back. I may even bring Todd’s hat.
Click here for my Charleston post, which includes a similarly glowing review of HUSK Charleston.